Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions

Sun 22 December 2013, 8:32pm

Stephen Walker from the BBC has managed to obtain details of Richard Haass’ third draft to the five main parties.

The latest draft comes to the conlusion that most of us could have said months ago that : “We could not reach a common position on the flying of flags.”

Haass does reccomend a policy of councils flying flags on designated days-something that Unionists are unlikely to adopt.

He also proposes the creation of a new working group that would report to OFMDFM on culture and tradition.

On dealing with the past he still has a Historical Investigations Unit and another looking at information recovery included in his latest draft.

I can’t help but think that Haass is simply proposing more quangos and processes to deal with a situation that needs to build community confidence and have the will to enforce difficult decisions. The only thing these proposals create are merely more targets on the dart board for our politicians to take aim at.

Perhaps it is just a sign of how toxic our politics have become that even after three months of hard work we cannot resolve these issues.

Latest from Haass

 

 

Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Delicious Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Digg Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Facebook Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Google+ Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on LinkedIn Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Pinterest Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on reddit Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on StumbleUpon Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Twitter Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Email Share 'Haass pt3-more process, little actual solutions' on Print Friendly

Comments (74)

  1. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Haass does reccomending a policy of councils flying flags on designated days-something that Unionists are unlikely to adopt.

    Unionists have no choice. The remaining councils implementing 365-day flags (Newtownabbey and Craigavon, to name but two) will find themselves subject to legal challenge. If, and when, their solicitors advise them that they are at risk of prosecution they will be forced to implement designated days anyway.

    The unionists had a chance to turn this into a victory, and they just blew it. Again.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  2. Nevin (profile) says:

    David and Comrade Stalin, you’ve not mentioned nationalist councils; presumably, they would be expected to fly the Union flag on designated days too.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  3. WindsorRocker (profile) says:

    If I’m right in saying, the Haas proposal on designated days allowed for an “opt out” for any council to reduce or increase the number of days, which is de facto the status quo, hardly a victory.

    A real victory would have been to push for a uniform designated days policy across all councils. Heck, I’d even have accepted that with a new NI specific flag if the council so desired. An SF controlled council running up a flag of the state whose death warrant they said they had signed to celebrate a Royal birthday. As far as I have read things that wasn’t on offer though.

    Feel the rejection of a new flag is symptomatic of the mentality of “cultural” unionism and misses the point of normalising and getting broad acceptance for something that ISN’T a 32 county symbol.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  4. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    No they’re not, which is my point. Unionism basically just conceded the status quo.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  5. Nevin (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin, you didn’t mention nationalists so you didn’t deal with the point in the round.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  6. Gopher (profile) says:

    The process has turned into a non event something I’m sure the DUP will be pleased with. A working group on culture and tradition , hard to take serious when drivel like that is produced. The goal now is just to Haas out of there without anymore embarrassment.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  7. Anaximander (profile) says:

    I have the feeling that Sinn Féin would have rejected designated days in regard to all councils, but we will never know as once again political Unionism shoots itself square in the foot on the world stage, whilst Nationalists come away seeming reasonable, serious and willing to compromise….

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  8. Greenflag (profile) says:

    “The unionists had a chance to turn this into a victory, and they just blew it. Again.”

    It’s their way or the highway which is why unionism is in a cul de sac .

    Go home Messrs Haas & O’Sullivan .Come back in 30 years and there’ll be no flag problem -at least on public buildings . It’s what unionists obviously want and it’s what they will get . They probably won’t be happy with the flags colours but that’s always a given .

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  9. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    You won’t get my point with your head buried in the sand like that. Let me know when you’re extricated yourself.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  10. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I have the feeling that Sinn Féin would have rejected designated days in regard to all councils,

    Yes they would have. And the unionists would then have been able to say that SF were not committed to compromise.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  11. DC (profile) says:

    Two national flags or none remains the only show in town for Nationalists – as has been known about for ages – and therefore to blame Unionists reveals the one-sided warped thinking that passes for sound commentary on here.

    If anything I think Alliance are done for so long as two flags or none remains it will only be a matter of time before the Union flag is downed form city hall by the combined nationalist vote – and Alliance will only have helped it on its way out, failing to secure designated days permanently.

    People in places like Carrick and east Belfast kept faith with Alliance till now they didn’t do so in order for it to side with Sinn Fein and SDLP and deliver bigotry-lite. What was the point helping it on its way out earlier than required? Idiotic stuff.

    Alliance may as well have just voted to nullify any progress around the union flag in Belfast and let those the vast majority in favour of UK membership enjoy the benefits of said membership – the high water mark being having the Union flag in the city 365 days a year, until it gets voted down by others for good. And then so be it. In all the other councils where this has happened there has been no violence. This time round I imagine it is just that people expected more of Alliance and not to get skewered on an anti-british agenda which so far seeing as no other councils have put the union flag up those councils that have taken down the flag remain in a higher number therefore the claims of deBritification actually begin to stick.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  12. Pat Mac Murphy (profile) says:

    Hi all, I used to post here several years ago under a different moniker but stopped after becoming totally disillusioned with the continued intransigent politics of the north.I must say that I’ve enjoyed the emergence of LAD on social media which aroused my interest again but alas nothing much seems to have changed during the time I have been away from here.
    Is anyone really surprised at the outcome of all this ‘hard work’ ?
    I for one am not. All this bullsh1t about a coloured piece of cloth would put years on you. I might just go back to sleep for a few years until our local halfwitted politicians get around to dealing with real issues. It is truly depressing and any wonder young people aren’t interested in politics or can’t be bothered to vote.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  13. Nevin (profile) says:

    “You won’t get my point with your head buried in the sand like that. Let me know when you’re extricated yourself.”

    Comrade Stalin, ‘Alliance Party position since 2002 has been in favour of flying the Union Flag on designated days on Government and Civic Buildings’ is APNI policy, one I presume you subscribe to. This rules out the 365-day option favoured by some unionists [your examples] and 0-day option favoured by nationalists. Why do you remain silent on this nationalist stance in, say, Moyle?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  14. Anaximander (profile) says:

    “Two national flags or none remains the only show in town for Nationalists – as has been known about for ages – and therefore to blame Unionists reveals the one-sided warped thinking that passes for sound commentary on here.”

    This is the standard Nationalist position (and, au fait, a completely reasonable one, fully in line with the GFA), but there was no veto from Nationalists in regard to designated days because Unionists, quite fantastically, demanded that designated days be the rule in councils across the six counties, with a special status for Belfast, which would fly the Union Jack 365 days a year!

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  15. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    What part of my 9:55PM contribution are you having trouble with ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  16. DC (profile) says:

    With any luck the Alliance vote will now go up in Nationalist areas causing things of importance to that community to atrophy.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  17. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    DC,

    If anything I think Alliance are done for so long as two flags or none remains it will only be a matter of time before the Union flag is downed form city hall by the combined nationalist vote – and Alliance will only have helped it on its way out, failing to secure designated days permanently.

    Please explain to me the magical powers possessed by Alliance that allow it to secure “designated days permanently” ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  18. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    DC,

    You reckon that flying the union flag on the Queen’s birthday sells in nationalist neighbourhoods ? What are you on ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  19. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    David,

    I’m surprised that so far flags remains more problematic as a subject area in the Haass talks than the past. After all, as a concrete physical thing, even if it is primarily symbolic, a flag is more subject to compromise than basis ideas about right and wrong of a national narrative. Also, at least by judging from this blog, attitudes towards an amnesty or partial-amnesty proposal do not simply break along communal lines. They seem to be more based on attitudes towards laws and the “right” to armed struggle. Now it may be that unionists are simply being tactical and may raise new objections to any deal on flags or parades once a deal on the past is worked out.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  20. Nevin (profile) says:

    “What part of my 9:55PM contribution are you having trouble with ?”

    CS, I see no mention of the 0-day nationalist position, let alone a challenge to it. This leaves you on an anti-unionist platform rather than on an APNI one. I know APNI got an unfair kicking in Belfast but an anti-unionist stance is surely not a clever one to adopt in mainly unionist constituencies. Perhaps APNI could take out legal challenges on stances other than the designated days one.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  21. DC (profile) says:

    So designated days for one term? May as well left the flag up.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  22. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    CS, I see no mention of the 0-day nationalist position, let alone a challenge to it.

    My opinion about the nationalist position doesn’t matter. My point is that the unionists missed an opportunity to draw international attention to the fact that nationalists are not prepared to meet unionists half way. Instead unionists chose to push the already-lost cause of 365 day flags in Belfast.

    Since you asked – I have no problem with a no-flag position. I accept the Alliance policy as a compromise and I will support Alliance where they wish to implement it. But I don’t care about flags and I don’t care for anyone who defines themselves with a flag.

    I know APNI got an unfair kicking in Belfast but an anti-unionist stance is surely not a clever one to adopt in mainly unionist constituencies.

    Alliance doesn’t run on a unionist ticket, nor does it promote itself on the basis of a flag (or a constitutional position) so the point is moot.

    Perhaps APNI could take out legal challenges on stances other than the designated days one.

    This is a complete nonsense. You are saying that the absence of a flag is discrimination. This is bollocks that does not even justify a response.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  23. DC (profile) says:

    Perhaps APNI could take out legal challenges on stances other than the designated days one.

    Failing that just apologise, thanks.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  24. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    DC,

    What is your purpose here if you’re not going to engage in debate ?

    I asked a specific question. Why are you making claims that Alliance could “secure designated days permanently” when this is nonsense ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  25. Nevin (profile) says:

    “My opinion about the nationalist position doesn’t matter. My point is that the unionists missed an opportunity to draw international attention to the fact that nationalists are not prepared to meet unionists half way.”

    CS, your or APNI willingness to attack a unionist position but not the nationalist one does matter in NI politics. If you want an example of bollocks, I need go no further than David Ford’s, “What happened last night was that Sinn Féin members voted to fly the Union flag on Belfast City Hall on the Queen’s birthday.” … UTV source

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  26. DC (profile) says:

    You guys were warned, leafleted – sorry petitioned, don’t be taking the flag down, it’s a trap!

    What’s it like running on fumes?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  27. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    DC,

    No chance of engagement at all DC ? Just puerile heckling ?

    Nevin,

    CS, your or APNI willingness to attack a unionist position but not the nationalist one does matter in NI politics.

    Sorry, that’s a load of balls as well. I absolutely refuse to accept that I must attack unionists and nationalists equally.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  28. DC (profile) says:

    It was trap! ;)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  29. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Sorry, that’s a load of balls as well. I absolutely refuse to accept that I must attack unionists and nationalists equally.”

    CS, but you haven’t attacked the nationalist stance at all. I thought you favoured APNI politics as against partisan unionist and nationalist politics. Am I wrong?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  30. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Unionists have no choice. The remaining councils implementing 365-day flags (Newtownabbey and Craigavon, to name but two) will find themselves subject to legal challenge. If, and when, their solicitors advise them that they are at risk of prosecution they will be forced to implement designated days anyway.

    The unionists had a chance to turn this into a victory, and they just blew it. Again.”

    Belfast voted to take the flag down/fly on designated days –=democracy ruled?

    (Unionist majority) councils vote to fly it daily–=democracy rules?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  31. cynic2 (profile) says:

    So Haass has learned the painful lesson. When you shake hands with a NI Politician always check your watvch

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  32. DC,

    If you truly believe that flying the union flag 365 days a year in Belfast is/was the high watermark of the membership of the UK, that’s really sad.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  33. DC (profile) says:

    Joseph

    Relative to flag flying days and in the context of Haass – on reflection maybe 366 is the high water mark, a leap year?

    I mean who here hasn’t gone down to the city hall in summer, sat down on the grass and looked up and seen the flag up there day in day out, fantastic. Those were the days when you got to enjoy the full benefits of UK membership, gone – and designated days will be gone soon too. So long as it remains two flags or none which appears to be the case.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  34. Coll Ciotach (profile) says:

    Ah well DC – the fantasy of benefits, (or was that handouts?), has gone, the reality of unionist demise is all that remains.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  35. DC,

    I used to work for Belfast Corporation. We had an hour and twenty minutes for lunch. On summer days I would go and listen to the free concerts at City Hall; bands such as the RUC Band. I never once in all of those years even noticed the flag flying so I believe you’re indulging in wishful (wistful?) thinking.
    I would even bet you didn’t do as you described.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  36. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    DC,

    I find myself longing to know so, please, do tell us – has the Union Jack displaced an angel atop your Christmas Tree ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  37. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin
    Can you (or someone else) tell me what is the current protocol for flying other flags when foreign dignitaries are visiting?
    I am assuming that no flags are flown at all, as I can’t see how Unionists could refuse to fly the Irish flag while following a policy of flying flags of other nations.
    Or was that just John Taylor on a solo run?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  38. fordprefect (profile) says:

    YAWN, YAWN and thrice YAWN! (and that’s not me getting up!). We’ve had the Borefest (GFA), the Hillsbore, the St. Andrewzzzzzzz and now the Haazzzzzzzzz “agreements”. I predicted quite a while back that the Haass “talks” would be a waste of time and money. (I know Haass hasn’t turned into an “agreement” yet). I have always described myself as a Socialist Republican (Irish) and I still do, and I still am. My take on the “fleg” issue is that SF did that last year as a cynical ploy to get more people to vote for them in the likes of areas where I live, you know, look what we did to themun’s. What gets me, is, how can SF object to the union flag flying anywhere, when they are administering British rule in the six counties!? We plebs were told that Richard Haass and Megan O’Sullivan were very well informed about the situation here and then (I’m still laughing about this one) asked people to come up with a flag that would represent the six counties!!!!!! Also, Haass and O’Sullivan were appointed by the US government to come over here and “sort us out”, when that same government is traipsing all over the world doing what they like, killing “militants” and wedding parties and bombing hospitals and schools. Last year, (and the year before and the year before that) people were more worried about their jobs and benefits and what effect a Tory government would have on their day to day lives, not flags! Again, personally, I couldn’t give a flying f***’ about any flag, it’s a piece of cloth with colours dyed on it. I’m sure there’s many an IRA man/woman who put their hand on the tricolour and swore allegiance to the Republic, only to become British agents (if they weren’t already) and the same goes for UDA/UFF/UVF who put their hand on the union jack and swore allegiance to Britain (although in fairness, most UDA/UFF/UVF were agents anyway).

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  39. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Ah well DC – the fantasy of benefits, (or was that handouts?), has gone, the reality of unionist demise is all that remains.”

    Fantasy?? I suggest you visit London/Derry An entire population built on and sustained by the tax payer. “imported” public sector jobs, benefits and of course the leech that is Derry City council Fantasy??

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  40. Greenflag (profile) says:

    I have the feeling that Sinn Féin would have rejected designated days in regard to all councils,

    Tend to agree .

    ‘ but we will never know as once again political Unionism shoots itself square in the foot on the world stage, whilst Nationalists come away seeming reasonable, serious and willing to compromise….

    Indeed not that the world is watching anyway . The world gave up watching the longest running political sitcom in the Anglophone world a long time , There are only so many times that one can watch Unionist politicians act out in “Watch us punching our fists with our faces yet again ” before one gives up all hope in the species ever getting it’s dismal act together.

    Two flags or none or designated days same as the rest of the UK are the only real choices

    Seem both eminently fair

    Unionist political parties have opted for the status quo as Comrade Stalin pointed out above -i.e designated days so now unionist politicians will have the guts and honesty to tell the poor downtrodden flaggelants in Belfast to go home to their wives and families and or jobs and stop making gobshites of themselves wasting their own time and others for nothing .

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  41. IrelandNorth (profile) says:

    Dr Brian Feeney’s column in the northern nationalist quality tabloid ‘The Irish News’ last week opined that unionists only ever act reasonably when a stick is introduced into the equation. Recalled to mind a previous United States (US) president’s synopsis of American foreign policy as: “Speak softly, but carry a big stick!” I appreciate that Team USA consider themselves to be bereft of executive power, but when did that ever stop anyone from strategically punctuating diplomacy with an emphatic knuckle crackle. A constituency which has had its historicaly predetermined besiegement, entrenchment and obstreperousness indulged constitutionally tend to require considerable persuasive concentration. But they can’t all be bereft of the realisation that tendencies towards control and manipulation of moderators from a world’s paradigm democracy and last standing superpower is likely to increase inward investment to N Ireland from corporate America.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  42. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    Get back to me when you want to have a serious discussion rather than sectarian baiting.

    babyface,

    Actually I haven’t a baldy. Of course there must be a protocol.

    The distinction between the head of state and the representative of a government visiting is significant. If the Irish president was here on an official visit I’d expect the tricolour to fly at whereever he was being put up as a guest (likewise for any other visiting foreign head of state).

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  43. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Get back to me when you want to have a serious discussion rather than sectarian baiting.”

    Comrade Stalin, I called you on your little partisan rant so you resort to personal abuse :)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  44. Neil (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    you seem to be looking condemnation over the two flegs or none position, why? We respect your symbols if you respect ours. Sneaky fecking Nationalists eh? Being unreasonable by being reasonable thereby demonstrating how unreasonable Unionists are.

    You can hypothesise as to what Nationalists would have done had Unionism not decided to drop a turd in the punch bowl but you’re pissing in the wind, you can never know. Anyway, keep it up Unionism I say, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as normal.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  45. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin
    Thanks for the reply.
    Maybe someone else will enlighten me.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  46. Nevin (profile) says:

    Neil, I merely held CS up against the the APNI yardstick and found him wanting. You wallow in turds and piss if you want to ;)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  47. Reader (profile) says:

    Nevin: Neil, I merely held CS up against the the APNI yardstick and found him wanting.
    I’m definitely with Comrade Stalin on this one. Whataboutery is a questionable tactic to be used sparingly. Whataboutery about a what-if scenario is a mighty stretch. And demanding that someone else serve up a piece of hypothetical whataboutery in the name of balance is just plain weird.
    But, Comrade – the DUP leadership team may have feared SF calling their bluff, and then the unionist vote going to pieces in the Assembly. In which case they may think this was the least worst option on flags; with deals to be made on the other issues.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  48. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Whataboutery is a questionable tactic to be used sparingly.”

    Reader, what a weird reaction to a perfectly reasonable challenge on partisanship. As I said, I merely held CS up against the APNI yardstick and he starts yapping about sectarian baiting. Get a grip ;)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  49. streetlegal (profile) says:

    I suspect that both the DUP and Provisional Sinn Fein will be equally content with the failure of these talks. Both only stood to lose – in electoral terms – if they opted for any kind of an agreement based on compromise. The most interesting outcome will be to see which way Mike Nesbitt goes. Will he continue to tag along behind the DUP in his quest for unionist unity – or will he see better prospects in taking a more pragmatic stance? Over to you Mike…

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  50. cynic2 (profile) says:

    “Dr Brian Feeney’s column in the northern nationalist quality tabloid ‘The Irish News’ last week opined that unionists only ever act reasonably when a stick is introduced into the equation. ”

    On flegs isn’t it just that approach that got us where we are today? Should the British and Irish Government wave a stick at SF and start to bulldoze all the Memorials to Murders that festoon our byways in nationalist areas? And what will the reaction be?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  51. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Here’s a general point which is unrelated to the effluent society.

    If I want to focus in a 500-word posting on the distressing rapacity of foxes, no one should expect 250 words of my posting to address the evil clucking of hens.

    Likewise, if you want to focus in a 400-word posting on the annoying habits of mice, no one should expect 200 words of your posting to address the wicked mewing of cats.

    It is neither unfair nor unbalanced to talk about one thing at a time (as for example, about the unreasonable expectations of one side in respect of marches and flags). The zodiac of Slugger is not the domain of a let’s-be-balanced Libra. It is the domain of sluggers who hit particular spots as hard as they can. There is no point in the continual invocation of Libra. You may as well invoke the Wonderbra.

    I used to go to a sparring class. A real slugging-match tends to increase one’s humility, and therefore one’s usefulness to other people. Smiley-smiley coffee-morning exercises in perfect equilibrium can have the opposite effect.

    Something good may come out of a brutally dialectical slugging-match. Nothing whatever will come out of a Farola-flavoured little game of “on the one hand” and “on the other hand”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  52. Son of Strongbow (profile) says:

    babyface,

    As I understand it the protocol for flag flying when foreign heads of state are visiting is that the Union Flag should be flown from any “government” building being visited by the foreign head of state.

    I read “government” as a central government department building as opposed to a local government facility.

    Should the building in question have more than one flag pole the foreign flag “may” be flown. However the Union Flag must occupy the “superior position”. On a building with two poles the same height and located side by side (including for example one on each side of a portico) the “superior position” is the flag pole on the left as one looks at the building.

    (The same rule applies to flags carried in a procession: the Union Flag out front, or when carried in a flank of flags then on the left as one looks towards the parade’s approach.)

    On a single flag pole the Union Flag may be accompanied by other recognised UK flags, such as the Welsh dragon for example, with the Union Flag in the “superior position”, that is at the top.

    No foreign flags (or emblems) are permitted to fly on the same pole as the Union Flag.

    The Union Flag or any foreign flag must not be flown in a dirty or damaged condition. To do so is to show disrespect to the country represented by the flag in question.

    (So street flag fans of either tradition have lots of work to do to respect their ‘own’ flag never mind any other ones)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  53. Nevin (profile) says:

    “If I want to focus in a 500-word posting on the distressing rapacity of foxes, no one should expect 250 words of my posting to address the evil clucking of hens.”

    David, there are birds of various feathers in that coop – so your metaphor ends up in the midden :)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  54. notimetoshine (profile) says:

    Is anyone really surprised at the impasse?

    Does anyone else feel sorry for Hass having to try and get our morons (sorry I mean esteemed representatives) to co operate?

    Let’s be honest with ourselves here, there isn’t any money on the table and Hass doesn’t have a big stick to threaten them with, oh and there are also elections coming up, it’s not in the interests of our sectarian politics obsessed politicos to compromise or create a comprehensive agreement.

    ‘Twill end in a fudge, and we will have more talks and more crises to come…

    The joy

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  55. Elections coming up – it’s a pity we have to wait so long until the next Assembly election. It would be something to look forward to, perhaps getting rid of some of the current useless twits.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  56. notimetoshine (profile) says:

    @ Mister_joe

    Couldn’t agree more but what alternative is there? I mean the likes of the greens Alliance, NI21 are there, but they are not viable alternatives really and I doubt the have the capacity (baring alliance maybe) to maintain a larger party presence.

    I fear we are stuck with our current quartet.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  57. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    but they are not viable alternatives really

    Please define “viable alternative”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  58. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    Glibly sticking a smiley after everything you type does not make you sound reasonable. What you’re doing here is sectarian baiting; you’re focussing on whether or not I have some sort of bias towards nationalists rather than dealing with the actual issue at hand.

    My point was not specifically about whether unionists or nationalists are right or wrong about flags, but about unionists missing out on an opportunity.

    The strategy that Sinn Féin are using at the moment is reasonably obvious. They can take the relatively safe risk of publicly proposing compromises they know they will never have to actually commit to because they know that the unionists can’t move a single inch away from where they are entrenched.

    If the unionists made a strategic step back from a “365 days in Belfast” policy which they know themselves can never happen for legal reasons and proposed a “designated days by law in all councils” policy, they could go to the public saying that they compromised by adopting the position that nationalists voted for in Belfast. The focus would then be squarely on the nationalists who would come under pressure to accept that position.

    Pointing that out does not make me some sort of crypto-nationalist. If unionism is to protect its position it is going to have to change its strategy, because the current one won’t work.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  59. notimetoshine (profile) says:

    @ Comrade Stalin

    Well Alliance have gotten themselves sucked into the ‘themmuns and ussuns’ debates, NI21 don’t have the size or public awareness yet and the greens are the greens.

    A viable alternative would be a party that ignores all the nonsense Hass is having deal with (poor guy) and busies itself with important issues that will make a meaningful difference to the quality of peoples lives. They can create some sort of forum ‘the flags forum’ maybe? Where DUP,SF,UUP and SDLP can busy themselves with flags, symbols, the past, the maze and so on. Hell we could even have elections for the flag forum.

    Perfect example of the disconnect in our political society, the news, political commentators and our politicans are busy with Hass and the nonsense it will no doubt bring forth while two of the busiest A&E departments are having close this weekend until further notice. I would consider that pretty vital to peoples lives but our political establishment has more important things to deal with.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  60. Michael (profile) says:

    Fighting about flags is a tactic, a small skirmish in the bigger war on dominance of identity. Right now Unionists are losing every skirmish – mostly because they show their battle plans very early and they are predictable. On the wider scene they are fighting a rearguard action and someday will realise that they cannot win the war.

    That means a completely different approach is needed. They need to cut their losses and with a different mindset and approach a whole pile of new possibilities open. However their current vision is unrealisable therefore unobtainable.

    It’s like they have put all their eggs into the flags battle, meanwhile expending sympathy, goodwill, opportunity in so many other areas.

    People seem to be increasingly in the “there is no compromise and no need for compromise” camps. This was Sinn Fein’s Separate but Equal policy. I think it is a stinking and depressing course of action and should be challenged at all costs. We do need a form of unity of purpose. I don’t see the need for a winner takes all approach. If nothing the last 100 years in this place have shown us what that does. It is a terrible way to see the future.

    Unionists seem stuck down a cup de sac and can only get out of it on the magnanimity of its neighbours and right now they are making it difficult to do that. I don’t think that Nationalists should go for the jugular and keep them under the cosh – that can lead to medium-term stalemate and progress by attrition.

    The grand gesture is to offer a hand of friendship to the other side. It is the only thing that can work in the long term. If people look up prisoners dilemma they will see that in some group dynamics people act out of short term self interests to the greater detriment in the long term. I can only see the flags issue as being exactly this. Where can it lead except longer term problems, no matter who wins.

    This does not take away identity or dilute but acknowledges it and asks for reciprocity. We have to live with common values of respect, tolerance, and peace.

    As a nationalist I am willing to compromise on the flags issue – along with the proviso that it comes as a gesture and it has to be reciprocated – something like – no flags on any lamppost anywhere ever, or go back to the original policy at a months notice. It’s called sanction and is an effective method of getting out of a dilemma, as is dialogue but we are not there yet.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  61. Nevin (profile) says:

    “What you’re doing here is sectarian baiting”
    No, CS, just measuring you up against that APNI yardstick but you chose to point the finger at unionists while ignoring the nationalists.

    Patrick Clarke on Down DC articulates the APNI position: “Both the DUP and Sinn Fein must make its views clear – do they support a policy of designated days across Northern Ireland? There can be no room for ambiguity.”

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  62. Michael (profile) says:

    I’d go further to surmise that someone senior in Unionism has had far reaching exploration of what is possible in a conversation with someone senior from Nationalism – e.g. what would unionism look like in a United Ireland? What safeguards to identity are necessary? What would Nationalism be willing to concede in a United future – a new constitution? a devolved federal parliament? If these conversations haven’t been started in the background of the tit for tat spiral we are in then its high time they did start.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  63. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Nevin,

    I tried to do you the courtesy of explaining myself at length and you ignore all of it – again. What’s the point ? Keep grinding your petty, point-scoring axe. I don’t care.

    notimetoshine,

    There are several parties in the list you gave above who would much rather talk about things like A&E closure. NI21 and Alliance are both on record as opposing the continuation of sectarian politics. You dismissed them as not being a viable alternative. I then asked you to explain what a viable alternative was – and you weren’t able to. How are parties which present any kind of alternative going to get anywhere if they are dismissed out of hand by people who don’t take the time to understand what they stand for ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  64. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Michael,

    Forgive my language but why exactly should anyone waste time jerking each other off about all the possible hypothetical future of Northern Ireland will look like constitutionally ? It is likely to be several decades at least until there is a referendum.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  65. notimetoshine (profile) says:

    @ Comrade Stalin

    If the Alliance party were really trying to move on from sectarian politics, then why are they up to their eyes in flags, symbols and related disputes?

    As for NI21 they got off to a great start, and then alot of their statements because almost identical to Alliance, and they gave too much credence to sectarian politics they are there to oppose.

    NI21 will just split the small moderate group who actually vote, between alliance and themselves, so in one way they are damaging any moderate movement within stormont.

    But more importantly, NI21 would have been better simply dismissing local bigotries and obsessions and calling the other parties out (same goes for Alliance) and then busy itself with hospitals etc.

    They should have made it quite clear that there is a real job to do, not just going over the same old nonsense again and again.

    Alliance particularly is no were near aggressive enough, they don’t stand up clearly say ‘bigots’ and then move on to begin challenging the other parties on every single incompetence that occurs while the rest govern. They should never have taken ministries in the democratic blackhole that is the Assembly, but should have been on the sidelines shouting (political) abuse at the parties.

    Every time DUP/SF etc make one of their moronic statements, alliance and NI21 should ridicule and insult it, and then ignore it and get on with building a base for practical politics.

    However they don’t do that, they have been sucked into the quagmire of (as you put it) the continuation of sectarian politics.

    So really where is the viable alternative? Problem with middle ground here, it is a middle ground defined by our sectarian divisions, rather than parties taking themselves outside it saying that they have no time for the normal crap that goes on, leave it at that and start talking hospitals. I also worry the middle ground here is made up of people obsessed/involved in community relations, therefore compromise and endless discussions on symbols are de rigeur for them.

    If you can point out a really viable option, then please enlighten me.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  66. fordprefect (profile) says:

    People
    Really, we are on here arguing the toss about this, that and the other, I’m sure the “politicians” we have are loving this. They have no worries about Christmas because of the large salaries they suck out of ordinary people (and the “average” industrial wage). I was talking to a friend of mine earlier and he told me that he has a cheque for a few quid, but he can’t cash it until the new year. He has had to go cap in hand to his family and friends to get the money. I bet there’s none of those bastards up on the shithole on the hill that had to do anything like that. The Haass/O’Sullivan “talks” will get another “deadline” and it will go on and on and on and on ad infinitum until everyone is bored to death! Anyway, Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh , Merry Christmas to everyone on here.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  67. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Keep grinding your petty, point-scoring axe. I don’t care.”

    And Season’s Greetings to you too, CS.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  68. Michael (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin – just because you are (one is) stuck in a rut and can’t see the metaphor for the trees, doesn’t mean the real world outside your door has also stopped. I bet you talk about other stuff like hypothetical but not unrealistic scenarios of what will happen your family in the future, to global policy issues.

    You sound frustrated. Maybe too much, or worse, not enough jerking off!

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  69. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Son of Strongbow
    Thanks for that. From what you say I would see no reason the tricolour could not be flown at Stormont or other buildings in line with that existing protocol.
    That then will continue to be the case I suppose, as no agreement will be reached for the foreseeable future

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  70. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    notimetoshine :

    If you can point out a really viable option, then please enlighten me.

    How come you are able to tell us what is not viable, but are unable to define what is ?

    What you outlined is a personal shopping list of things you see as fundamental. An example on the list is that Alliance are not forceful enough. In other words, your problem is not with the policy – but how it is presented.

    What’s going on here is that we (specifically, those of us who think the incumbent politicians are doing a fundamentally bad job) have expectations of politicians which are far too high. We write them off completely if there is one little detail out of place. Everyone complains and moans about politicians but nobody can say exactly what it is they expect or want.

    In truth the reality is different. If everyone who bitches about what a bad job the incumbent parties do, or who complains that none of our multitude of parties represent them, were to take a risk and vote for one of the non-traditional parties, politics here would be fundamentally transformed.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  71. drmisery (profile) says:

    Th

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 2
  72. drmisery (profile) says:

    I tried to order something online the other day for Christmas and seeing as I actually work for a living, it seemed reasonable to get it delivered to the door. Anyhoo, the kind woman I contacted in complaints informed me that they only deliver to the UK… I said “aha, I live there” she said “oh no, N.Ireland is not considered part of the Uk” , she didn’t think anyhow. To cut a long story short, uk =GB I was informed, what would DC/Nevin/sos call it, the “mainland”?
    To put this into a modern crisis context, the closure of A&Es is representative of a general malaise of all things UK here cos really we are irrelevant. The 4 hr target in England is less than 95% and its a national scandal, here the 4 hr target in a&es has been in the 60s/70s for the last 5 years. Any job losses, any “national” scandal? By golly no way. So essentially when I’m treated in the same way as my fellow UK citizen s I may feel that slightly more loyal to the British flag. But as a Catholic (and as our unionist friends believe) is something less than Loyal and somehow significantly less British, I’ll hold unto my Irish passport where someday I might, just might have some influence on how a national scandal is interpreted.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  73. Nevin (profile) says:

    drmisery, I dabble in genealogy, history and politics so the labels I use take account of the context as well as the folks I’m dealing with.

    In politics, I mostly use official labels but UK and Ireland officials themselves are often in a bit of a muddle. Back in the late 90s I suggested to the UK Office of National Statistics that its use of Britain was confusing – two years later their annual digest carried the UK label instead of the Britain one. I made a similar point to the British Embassy in the USA by suggesting that ‘UK in the USA’ was a more apt as well as a snappier title than its then logo ‘Britain in the USA’. As you can see from this FCO correspondence the FCO has adopted ‘UKin(countryname)’. The officials didn’t answer my query about the use of this style in all EU states eg they don’t use ‘UKinIreland’.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  74. DC (profile) says:

    Dr Misery

    May I suggest you try the two-tier health service in the RoI and see if it is of a higher standard?

    And – I invite you to print this off:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Double_Irish_with_a_Dutch_Sandwich.svg

    please take this with you along with your Irish passport to the powers that be in Dublin and ask them if this is a good way to run an indebted country in terms of operating a tax system that gifts capital an easy ride, while productive labour, the ordinary working folk are being taxed to death in order to pay off government debt belonging to a bunch of bastards.

    As a result many people are left having to reach into their own pockets, somewhat punitively given the circumstances, to pay for private healthcare. Healthcare which ordinary folk might not have to pay so much for if higher taxes on corporate profits were imposed.

    Mention this too that apparently Ireland has reduced its spending on healthcare by 6.6% since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis according to the OECD’s 2013 Health Report. ‘As a result waiting times for treatment have been noted to increase.’

    Come back with an update, let me know how you got on?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
294 queries. 1.316 seconds.